The Winner is…

From childhood, when he met and had his picture taken with the world boxing champ Freddie Mills and set up his own gym in the family garage, through to adulthood, when he was a regular at the fights and had many close friends in the game (like Paddy Byrne), boxing was an overriding passion of Andrew’s.

It was, perhaps, something of a contradiction for a man who passionately opposed war and viscerally loathed all other forms of violence. Nevertheless, it was the achievements of boxers, more than any other profession, Andrew admired.

Not surprisingly, his knowledge of boxing was encyclopaedic. One day he put his impressive ability to reel off champions of different weights and different eras to the test, by entering a competition in the Boxing News magazine (which he subscribed to).

The prize was a much coveted cassette recording of the classic Sonny Liston v Muhammed Ali (then Cassius Clay) fight. He entered the competition not under his stage name of Ray, but under the family name, Olden.

A few weeks later he was at a boxing match with his mate Frank “The Clocker” Baxter, when he was asked to present the competition prize to the winner.

He agreed, went up to the stage, and drew the name out of the hat. It was Andrew Olden of Bayswater.

Frank pretended to be Andrew Olden, and duly trotted up and collected the tapes. The next week’s Boxing News had the wonderful picture of Frank shaking Andrew’s hand above the caption: “Actor Andrew Ray congratulating competition winner Andrew Olden”.